Microgreens are the seedlings of plants, harvested while still juvenile and before they have matured into the fully grown vegetables, herbs or other plants you are more familiar with seeing on your plate. These tiny edible greens really are superfoods in themselves, packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Harvested and consumed when just seedlings a few centimetres in height, microleaves contain fair higher concentrations of nutrients (up to 40 times higher!!) than their mature equivalents. Make microleaf salads and microgreens part of your meals and reap the benefits of these nutrient dense seedlings!
In general, microgreens have considerably higher nutrient densities than their mature counterparts and therefore per gram, they will get you greater concentrations of antioxidants (including lutein and zeaxanthin), carotenoids and vitamins (including vitamin C and vitamin K).
Many micro leaves have higher concentrations of potent antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high levels in our eyes. Diets rich in these antioxidants can assist in protecting against eye diseases associated with aging, reduce the chances of developing cataracts and slow down macular degeneration.
Beta-carotenes are another nutrient prized for maintaining good eye health. Carrots are high in beta-carotenes (those stories about carrots and rabbits are true!). But many microleaves have far higher concentrations still. Red sorrel, red cabbage, green basil, cilantro and wasabi microgreens all contain higher beta-carotene concentrations than carrots (up to 121mcg per gm compared to 83mcg per gm in carrots).
Vitamin E contributes to the proper function of many of your body’s organs and promotes healthy skin, eyes and strengthens your immune system. Of the micro-leaves, green daikon radish microgreens top of the chart when it comes to vitamin E concentrations.
Vitamin K is important in maintaining strong, healthy bones and teeth, promoting normal blood clotting and warding against excessive bruising. Amaranth microgreens, namely the red garnet variety, have the highest levels. Kale microgreens also deliver a healthy dose of Vitamin K.
Sulforaphane is a compound that fights inflammation. As well as being a rich source of vitamin K and C, Broccoli microgreens will get you a healthy slug of sulforaphane which will assist in reducing muscular niggles and impingements resulting from training associated inflammation. Sometimes it pays to think small to get big results and working microgreens into your meal plans and diet is going to go a long way to ensuring your nutrient levels are at their peak.